Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Ground Hugs

Using plants as living mulch helps to reduce weeds and is better for the environment (and your back) than spreading yards of mulch year after year. When you use plants to create a ‘green’ mulch, you help to shade the soil and conserve moisture, while attracting pollinators and adding beauty to the landscape.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Mother Nature (and Henry) know best – bare ground attracts weeds.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
I observed the value of green mulch at a client site. The Packera aurea suppresses weeds; bare ground attracts them.

I have installed ground hugger plants in shade and sun. Many provide multiple seasons of interest. I am happy to share some of my favorites with you.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Veronica Water Perry Blue grows less than a foot tall and blooms for a long period of time in early spring. Mine is in full sun, but it’s tolerant of part shade too.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Veronica Georgia Blue is an alternative to Waterperry blue with a more vibrant hue and burgundy fall color. I have both and love them equally.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Aronia Ground Hug does just that, with sweet white flowers in the spring and nice fall color later in the season.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Antennaria plantaginifolia is a perennial plant native to the Eastern US. Commonly known as ‘Pussytoes,’ I adore its spreading habit and diminutive form. Antennaria loves full sun and drier conditions.
Another full to part sun perennial native to the US is Phlox subulata. I particularly love it cascading over walls where it looks right at home.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Part sun sites will be enhanced by Packera aurea, which naturalizes rapidly and blooms for a couple of weeks in the spring. An added advantage of Packera is that’s it’s evergreen and usually deer resistant.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Helleborus foetidis is a great dry shade perennial that seeds around freely and adds a wonderful texture to the landscape. Most Hellebores are deer resistant too, so that’s another advantage.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Geranium Karmina is a spectacular ground hugger with purple flowers in the spring and a reddish fall color. Here it’s combined with some other perennials with different textures. Using ground huggers in combinations creates a wonderful tapestry.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Epimedium is one of my all-time favorite shade perennials. With many colors and forms, you can’t go wrong. Pictured here is Epimedium versicolor.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Carex siderosticta (Broad leaved Sedge) can tolerate wet soils in part to full shade, but also thrives in my dry shade garden. Other Carex make great choices too, like Carex Ice Dance which has a narrower leaf.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Erigeron pulchellus ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ creeps along with fuzzy leaves and displays daisy like flowers on tall stems in late spring.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Geranium Ingwersen’s variety spreads nicely throughout the woodland edge while dispersing a lovely scent with fragrant leaves.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Dwarf Solomon Seal (Polyganatum humile) has a diminutive form that creates an amazing green carpet with a unique texture.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Spreading ferns are another great choice for covering the ground in shade. I let my Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum) spore around. I thoroughly enjoy the variation in color and form.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’ expands rapidly in my garden. More tolerant of dry conditions than other Astilbe and later blooming, it’s a great addition to my garden and I have large drifts of it.

The best part about ground huggers is using them in combination to add color, texture and weed suppression to your garden. I’m excited to hear about your favorites and how you use them to create a living mulch.

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